ANNAPOLIS – Gov. Martin O’Malley announced plans on Friday to commit $25 million in state funds for the development of affordable rental housing.
The investment, which will be added to the 2014 state budget, is expected to create 1,900 jobs in Maryland, O’Malley said at a press conference held in the center of College Creek Terrace, a newly revitalized affordable rental community in Annapolis.
Along with the new jobs, the $25 million investment will help increase Maryland’s supply of affordable rental housing as well as preserve more than 1,100 rental units, O'Malley said.
The lack of affordable housing is a crisis in America, said Ruth White, director of the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare.
“The governor’s commitment to preserving affordable housing is very important,” White said.
The investment is part of a government program called Rental Housing Works, which was started last year with $17.5 million in funding from the Department of Housing and Community Development.
Family homes are about more than brick and mortar, they are the building blocks of a strong middle class, O’Malley said.
While increasing the state’s supply of affordable housing is one of the investment’s goals, O’Malley stressed that job creation is the top priority.
“There is no progress without jobs,” O’Malley said.
House Speaker Michael Busch called the $25 million the “best investment we’ve made this year.”
Trudy McFall, chairman of the Annapolis-based non-profit Homes for America, and president of the Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition, praised the investment and called it a “win-win program” for both housing and job creation.
“Shouts of joy went up all over the development community” when they heard about the investment, McFall said.
The College Creek community was developed as a partnership between the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis and Penrose Properties, a Philadelphia-based, multi-family housing developer.
“No one is investing in their communities like Maryland,” said Mark Dambly, president of Penrose Properties.
McFall called Maryland’s support for affordable housing “the envy of other states.”